Zetta Elliott - Author, Poet, Educator

Kaya Thomas
Photo credit: Bianca Cordova
I write predominantly about Black children because I grew up believing I was invisible in the real world, and it hurt just as much to discover that I was also invisible in the realm of the imaginary. -Zetta

Zetta Elliott was one of the first authors I discovered years ago when I created We Read Too.  The quote above from Zetta's beautiful essay titled 'Why I Write' resonated so deeply with me because it's similar to why I created the We Read Too app. I felt invisible and I wanted to create a resource that could help kids like myself avoid experiencing the same frustration and disappointment. So many children and teens of color haven't had the opportunity to see themselves in the imaginary worlds in books because the books they are assigned in school or shown in the library aren't written by authors of color. Zetta has penned over 30 books for children, teens and adults. She doesn't shy away from hard issues like poverty, racism, and addiction in her writing for children and is able to weaves tales of magic, wonder and joy through the hard topics. Some of my favorite titles of hers from We Read Too's directory are Room in My Heart, The Dragon Thief and Say Her Name. Her newest book, A Place Inside Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart is a picture book illustrated by Noa Denmon that shows how a Black child deals with various emotions and learns how to express those emotions. If you haven't read any of Zetta's work, I highly recommend it and A Place Inside Me is a great place to start!

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